When a couple decides to get married, it’s a joyous occasion, a declaration of love, and an occasion for friends and family to get excited. But it’s also a time in which each person entering the marriage needs to think about his or her finances. Marriage is a legal arrangement involving a great number of financial issues, and ending the legal arrangement with a divorce has the potential for costly and contentious litigation – regardless of how in love a couple is at the outset of their marriage. Continue reading
I’ve noticed that there are a lot more prenuptial agreements than there were in the past, and I’m not alone in that. Last fall, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers noted that nearly 2/3 of family lawyers they surveyed reported an increase in the past three years. What’s more, nearly half of the lawyers surveyed reported that more women were initiating requests for prenuptial agreements. Continue reading
In the debate over adopting new laws concerning alimony in Florida last year, part of the debate was about a provision that would set a new legal presumption for timesharing. If Gov. Scott had signed the bill into law last year, divorces in Florida would now operate with the legal presumption that children would spend equal time with each parent. Continue reading
I’d love to see, at some time in the not-too-distant future, a world in which divorces are primarily settled through Collaborative Law. While that might be challenging – especially for lawyers who pride themselves on the ability to be “bulldogs” – I do think that it is possible for more divorces to bring Collaborative Law principles into the mix. Continue reading
As a lawyer who has worked on many divorce cases, I can tell you first-hand that divorce can be a very emotional time, and emotions can greatly impact the divorce process. If it is a litigated divorce, emotions can even go as far as driving one or both parties in a divorce to employ tactics and make demands that delay and complicate the divorce proceedings. Continue reading
Last year, alimony law in Florida came one governor’s veto shy of changing significantly, and it’s possible that the Florida State Legislature could be debating the issue this year as well. Last year’s bill sought to change the duration and circumstances under which alimony was allowed, and it also addressed timesharing by establishing a legal presumption that equal timesharing should be awarded in the vast majority of cases. While Florida’s legislation got a lot of attention last year for coming so close to passing, it’s part of a slowly-developing national trend examining the issue. Continue reading
One of the most challenging issues in any divorce case is parental interference. When a divorce decree is signed, parents either agree to a time-sharing schedule with their children, or, in litigated cases where they can’t agree to the schedule, cede that decision to a judge who creates a schedule for them. Before a divorce is finalized, standing orders can help orchestrate time-sharing schedules and make sure that each parent gets a reasonable amount of time with their children. Continue reading
With the start of a new year comes the inevitable set of New Year’s resolutions, and for many of us, the equally inevitable breaking of New Year’s resolutions. The idea behind a New Year’s resolution is based on sound principles – we want to change for the better, we see places in our lives where we can make those changes, and then we initiate a change in behavior.
The problem that many of us encounter, however, is that we don’t come into a resolution knowing why we’re making the change, and don’t have the attitude that allows that change to stick. We might decide to quit smoking or lose weight or watch less TV because we somehow feel that we should, but when it gets difficult not to stray back into old, familiar habits, a vague sense of obligation to what one should be doing typically isn’t enough. Continue reading
A few months ago, I had a friend refer a couple to me who were considering a divorce and wanted to review their options. When I talk to people about divorce, I run through all of the possibilities with them, including options that don’t involve lawyers, or even counseling and reconciliation for couples who shouldn’t get divorced.
It was clear, in talking to this couple, they were still in love with each other, and though they did have some obstacles to overcome in their relationship, they weren’t at all insurmountable. I told them, at the end of the meeting, “You don’t need a divorce; you need counseling,” and referred them to a therapist who specialized in helping married couples with their relationships. Continue reading
One of the most challenging timesharing issues for divorcing parents is where children celebrate the holidays. In Florida’s typical orders for timesharing, children spend Thanksgiving weekend with their mother one year and their father the following year, and alternate the first half and second half of winter break with the parties usually alternating Christmas Eve and Day with the children. Continue reading